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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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April 19, 2013     Cape Gazette
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April 19, 2013

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Cape Gazette NEWS FRIDAY, APRIL 19- MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013 29 The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation In- stitute stranding response team executed a daring rescue of a gray seal pup that had fallen into a crevice between the rocks at the south side of Indian River Inlet April 10. The pup couldn't extricate herself from this predicament, so she decided to play dead, wedging her head under one of the rocks in hopes that ev- eryone would just go away. To make matters worse, the tide was coming in rapidly, so the rescue team had to work quickly before the area became inaccessible: Getting her into a net from her hiding place was no easy task, but the rescuers succeeded in pulling her out and subsequently crated her and drove her to a quiet release site north of the inlet. She made her way, albeit slightly reluctantly, back into the water and swam north. Rescu- ers hope she is well on her way back to New England after her Delaware adventure. As Delaware's stranding re- sponse organization for the past 13 years, MERR has.been on call 24 hours a day providing strand- ing response for marine animals that are in need. MERR Execu- tive Director Suzanne Thurman, along with institute veterinarian Dee Holm and their intrepid vol- unteers have responded to more than 1,200 stranded animals, of- fering veterinary care for those that are injured or ill and provid- ing thorough research on those that have die& These efforts are conducted no matter what the weather, the holiday, the massive size or weight of the animal, or the time of day or night. When this team of marine rescuers is able to help an animal like this gray seal pup trapped in the rocks, or the recently stranded gray seal pup that was entangled in a fishing net, struggling and unable to breathe, they know that the hardships are all worthwhile. In addition to rescue and research, MERR provides edu- cation/outreach for more than 10,000 people every year on the subject of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea turtles. Education remains at the heart of the conservation mission, and programs are provided free of charge so everyone can learn the importance of stewardship for these magnificent creatures and their ocean habitat. MERR is based in Lewes, but provides stranding response throughout the entire state of Delaware. It also assists other stranding organizations through- out the Northeast Region with stranding events, and provides important data to the Nation- al Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Delaware De- partment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and researchers. The service MERR provides to these marine spe- cies, the community and the state eliminates the need for the state to provide stranding response and saves the state an estimated MERR'S STRANDING TEAM side of Indian River-Inlet: PHOTOS COURTESY OF MERR INSTITUTE rescued this gray seal pup April 10 at the south $400,000 each year. In order to fund this vital program, MERR relies on com- munity support, donations, fundraisers, membership dues, a new state license plate and grants. MERR has successfully obtained a federal grant, known as the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program, for the past 10 "Experience Matters" Owned & Operated by Trevor & Amy Vest years. This grant, which has been an important source of funding for the organization, has been eliminated from the federal 2014 budget. MERR will continue to pursue other sources of revenue from endowments and sponsor- ships so its important work can continue to be a trusted and reliable mainstay in the coastal community. To report a marine mammal or sea turtle stranding, or for any other information regarding these marine species, call MERR's 24- hour hotline at 302-228-5029 and go to Monday - Friday 8:30 - 5:00 Saturday 8:30 - 1:00 Other Hours By Appointment 302.645.8930 33506 Crossing Ave, Unit 2 Lewes, DE 19958 Behind Walgreen's D e s n ng n do .Inc • PalmBeachTM Custom Shutters • Somner® Custom Vertical Blinds • Luminette® Privacy Sheer • Custom Draperies • Silhouette® Window Shading • Bedspreads Z Top Treatments • Country Woods® wood blinds * Great Customer Service Free In-home / Condo Estimates ProfeSsional Installation / Financing AVailable A GRAY SEAL PUP fell into Indian River Inlet Apr!110. a crevice between the rocks at the south side of 8204 astal Ocean City •